Uncertainties remain over smoke flavouring safety

A smoke flavouring widely used in the European Union has been deemed ‘of concern’ by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Smoke flavourings are added to foods including meat, fish and cheese as an alternative to traditional smoking.

A new toxicology study in animals has prompted EFSA’s panel of experts to conclude that there are safety concerns about the smoke flavouring for humans, despite some increase in the margin of safety.

To assess the safety of smoke flavourings, the panel asks manufacturers for data on the composition and toxicity of their products, as well as details on their intended uses and use levels. Based on this information, the panel determines the highest intake level at which each product was shown not to cause adverse health effects in animals. This level is then compared to estimated intake levels for humans in order to determine “margins of safety” for each product.

The results will help inform decision-makers as they prepare a list of smoke flavourings authorised for use in the EU.